Sunday, December 14, 2008
It's not because you'll be hanged in effigy once inside the luxury box -- it's because you might get lynched on the way to that luxury box.
That's because, sometimes, unenlightened people see only the big, bold 67 or the 28 while refusing to acknowledge the yellow lettering across the back.
And HOPE ...
Alas, this is what happens when your FUAMATU-MA'AFALA 45 jersey is at the dry cleaners.
Or when you never got around to buying one.
Anyway, it was mighty neighborly of J-Bliz (no one really calls him that) to allow a pro-Steeler element into his purple nook of the noisiest (read: "noisiest" ... not "loudest") stadium in the NFL (a large % of that noise is artificial).
It might've seemed symbolic, in some sense, to be there in Suite 369 when the Steelers were losing, 3-9, and then 6-9 (it's fun, sometimes, to put the losing score first) -- except we weren't there in 369 when the score turned from 3-9 to 6-9 ... and, subsequently, we didn't get a very good look at the controversial Santonio Holmes reception on the goal line.
We were 10-12 miles away.
On the interstate.
Returning to the Honeycomb Hideout, which is our usual viewing outpost for all football matters black-n'-gold.
We had to ditch the scene after that zany punt return late in the 3rd (+14 on the muff by Santonio, +18 on the ricochet of said muff by Keyaron Fox) was negated by that zany bobble/muff/volley/juggle by Big Ben on the first play of the 4th.
Ol' #7 looked merely pedestrian in person before the DVR showed a different Big Ben operating with precision during the 2-minute drill.
It figures ...
In between cuttin' out early and arriving at Ground Control, we opted not to bother with satellite radio ... because doing so would've involved us with one of two elements:
1) Either Ravens broadcaster Gerry Sandusky providing his trademark (and super-lame) "the hay is in the barn!" when the outcome seems irreversibly pro-Raven or 2) Steelers play-by-play guy Bill Hillgrove sneak-attacking with another "failure to I.D." -- which is exactly what happened with the call of the Steeler D clinching the W ("Intercepted! The Steelers have it, they're gonna run it out and this one is going, going, gone!")
True ... Bill-Hill usually gets around to eventually I.D.ing the player (today: William Gay with the INT in the end zone of the desperation heave by Flacco) but, what's wrong with turning eventually into immediately?
The Charger win was an awesome example:
"Intercepted! Running with the football a Steeler defender!"
Toonch ... hand Bill your binoculars.
Then, hand him a roster ...
Hay and Gay notwithstanding, it was a treat to re-visit the building where the Steelers were winners during their first 5 visits, but had lost 5 in a row here since (twice on Stover FGs in OT).
Ahh, the memories ... such as the inaugural game in '98 ... a 20-13 Steeler victory in the '98 season opener ... a game tarnished by a poor center snap in punt formation from Ravens long-snapper Harper LeBel which set up the Steelers with a 1st-n'-goal inside the 10.
They say y'never forget a poor center snap from somebody named Harper LeBel, particularly when it occurs in the first-ever (regular-season) game inside a football stadium which was once named for a now-defunct company (PSI.net).
Those commercials with Chris Noth ... didn't move the needle, apparently.
Of course, Harper LeBel's errant snap is a defense mechanism some of us use to block out certain unpleasant memories ... such as when you're mindin' your own beeswax and that loudmouth asks ya where ya got your gray t-shirt w/ the traditional stencil-style Steelers logo ... but, he isn't really waitin' for an answer 'cuz he says, "Do they sell those in men's sizes?" -- and then you immediately fire back with, "Sure ... you can probably get one in a size that'll fit your boyfriend there" as you nod in the direction of the guy who appears to be either his son or a date he selected from the NAMBLA personals).
All the analysts and experts were surprised by the immediacy of the comeback, not to mention impressed by the fact that the Costanza/Jerk Store Application delivered w/o any references to that guy's inability to satisfy a woman with such a tiny dick.
We've come a long way in Steeler-Raven relations in 10 years -- but, that doesn't explain that guy who was walking ahead of us while wearing a Steelers jersey with DANISH 43 on the back.
It wasn't worth stoppin' him to ask if he was from Denmark ... or if he a DANISH 43 jersey was a replacement for when the Feds busted in and confiscated those counterfeit ROTHLISBURGER 7 jerseys which have proliferated the black market.
Besides, we were on our way to see the Unitas Statue ... the sculpture of Johnny U. with the oversized package which nobody talks about.
It's no way to treat an icon, but it's always good for a laugh.
"At the end of the day," our Unitas Statues of America are a better place when it's the Steelers, not the Ravens, clinching the AFC North and a first-round playoff bye.
It's impressive (since B'More had spent the past 2 mos. goin' 7-1, winning those seven by an average score of 32-11), but it's also amusing because the Steelers aren't 'sposed to be 11-3 heading into the Titan tussle which lies ahead -- not with an OL which went from LT - Smith / LG - Faneca / C - Mahan / RG - Simmons / RT - Colon to LT - Starks / LG - Kemoeatu / C - Hartwig / RG - Stapleton / RT - Colon.
And, don't forget the loss of long-snapper Chris Warren.
Also ... Darnell StapleWho?
There's simply NO WAY a team should be this good after losing the perennial All-Pro (Faneca) to free agency and then vets such as Smith and Simmons to injury early in the season.
Apparently, Coach Tomlin wasn't blowin' smoke up our skirt after the first win over the Ravens -- after Simmons tore his Achilles and Mendenhall fractured his shoulder blade -- when he said, "It is only devastating if you allow it to be."
Sunday, November 30, 2008
Thanks a lot, Frank Alexander and Lawrence Timmons.
Extra-hard helmet slaps for those two ...
LOOK ... nobody's ever bothered to explain it with eloquence (maybe because it's inexplicable), but there's something extremely cool and very unique about linebackers and/or D-linemen when they've got the football tucked under one arm as they sprint in the open field (Y2K calls sprinting in the open field: "running downhill" ... "in space").
When the above happens, we can't help but set the expressions on our faces to: ASTONISHED.
Though we know we shouldn't be surprised.
Let's face it: Linebackers are unquestionably the most-versatile people on the field (speed-rush the QB, shed blockers, stuff the run, drop into coverage, block a kick now and then, save the bacon of the D-line or the DBs), so we oftentimes find ourselves connecting with our inner-"hip-hip-hooray" (or our inner-"fuckin'-A!") when we see the LB INT and the subsequent showcase of better-than-average speed, quality juking skills or both.
LBs need those rewards ...
Last night, Frank Alexander had a clear, unobstructed path to the end zone because most of the players were entangled and piled up inside the 5-yard line when he scooped up the fumble near the 10 and went off to the races.
Indeed ... it's a real thrill when you're spending an Oklahoma Sweatshirt Saturday night watchin' Frank Alexander chug the length of the field in Stillwater while returning that fumble for 2 pts. for OU which made the score 23-19 when it looked as though we might be lookin' at 21-21 ... and then you're noticin' that Frankie wears the same number as receiver Quentin Chaney -- who, it appears, is under-used these days (maybe he's injured?) -- and then you catch yourself wund'rin' why an ESPN roster lists Manuel Johnson as #22 when he wears #1 and why an Oklahoma Sooners quote-unquote "official site" has Dominique Franks listed as #1 when he wears #15 ... which is the same number that backup QB Joey Halzle of Huntington Beach also wears ... the same number which J.T. Thatcher wore with such pride when he was winning the Mosi Tatupu Award as the nation's top special-teams player (an award which now longer exists) for the '00 National Champion Sooner Schooner.
It was Nick Bakay who once taught us that "the numbers never lie" -- and, even though Jermaine Gresham wears the same number as '03 Heisman Trophy winner Jason White, we must remember that there are concepts which extend beyond the numbers.
Such as the moment when, on the possession following OU's theft of OSU's 2 pts., Gresham gathered in the rebound of that Sam Bradford pass which ricocheted off Juaquin Iglesias ("tip drill!") and gracefully strode the remaining 50-some-odd yards for the TD which put 'em up, 30-21.
For 6-6/270 (or thereabouts), Gresham moves about the field as though he's somewhere in the range of 6-3/235 (or thereabouts).
He's very fluid.
And probably better than two-time consensus All-America TE Keith Jackson as the best in school history.
Is that sacrilege?
If it is ... tough shit, y'know?
Speaking of what's fluid, people who made the fluid transition from their Sooner Saturday Sweatshirt to their Steeler Sunday Sweatshirt probably did so only because they maybe aren't blessed enough to have a SOONERS 18 jersey to slip off before slipping into a TIMMONS 94 jersey.
Timmons -- like Alexander and Gresham -- put his "breakaway speed" on display during a non-critical juncture of a 33-10 victory in Foxboro (or Foxburrow or however they're spelling it this year).
Since the Steelers were up, 26-10, the D was merely trying to prevent a window-dressing TD that would benefit Fantasy knobs who were aroused by Cassel's previous-game efforts vs. The NYJ (400 yds.) and the Miamammals (415-yds.).
Fine outings, but, ooopsie daisy, Mr. Chatsworth High, that ain't Reseda or Canoga Park you're playin'.
So, a slightly tardy delivery on a RB quick-out that Kevin Faulk was running ... ACCESS DENIED! ACCESS DENIED!
Timmons -- who ranks as a quality, modern-day "L.T." in the NFL food chain somewhere between LaDanian Tomlinson and Lawrence Tynes -- -- rode Faulk's hip smartly then used a powerful burst to "close" on the ball and pluck it for the INT at the 10-yd. line.
We all thought that he was "off to the races" down the near sideline, but, Timmons' coast-to-coast gallop was destroyed 1 yd. shy of 90-yd. glory when Ben Watson dragged down L.T. The LB (it sure as hell looked as though the ball BROKE THE PLANE when his knee touched, goddammit).
Maybe God was punishing Timmons for not simply lowering his shoulder and bowling over Watson inside the 5, causing the Pats TE to land on his kiester in the end zone.
Or maybe God was punishing Timmons because Ryan Clark threw a crappy, quasi-brushblock on Watson near the 15-yd. line.
Or maybe God, as He usually does, was listening to the Steelers radio broadcast on satellite radio and maybe He got pissed when L.T. made the interception and then Tunch orgasmed into the mike with an "uh!" at the 14-yd. line, an "uh!" at the 25-yd. line and an "uh!" at the 31-yd. line.
No word on when exactly Tunch climaxed ... and, now that ya mention it, wasn't Watson the Pat who ran down Champ Bailey on that controversial 100-yd. INT ret. in the playoffs 3 yrs. ago at Mile High? True ... Champ probably DID lose possession of the ball shy of the goal line, blah blah blah ... but, since it negatively impacted Belichick and Brady, everything's cool ... )
Before anybody prepares to release a Timmons Tragedy report, it might be wiser to take a moment and salute the player with the longest INT return by an LB in the Steelers' glorious 76-yr. history.
There seems to be a discrepancy!
On pg. 332 of the Steelers 2008 Media Guide, the longest interceptions in team history are listed as:
99t Martin Kottler (9/27/33 vs. Chicago Cardinals)
91 Jack Hinkle (10/9/43 vs. New York Giants)
86t Glen Edwards (9/30/73 at Houston)
84 Joey Porter (9/15/02 vs. Oakland)
82t Jim Bradshaw (10/24/65 at Philadelphia)
82t Tony Compagno (11/7/48 at Green Bay)
81 Russ Craft (10/17/54 vs. Cleveland)
80 Bill Dudley (11/3/46 vs. Washington)
However, on pg. 407, the INTs of at least 80 yds. are listed as:
1. Martin Kottler (9/27/33 vs. Chicago Cardinals) 99t
2. Glen Edwards (9/30/73 at Houston) 86t
3. Tony Compagno (11/7/48 at Green Bay) 82t
4. Russ Craft (10/17/54 vs. Cleveland) 81
On the second list, there's no Hinkle (Jack, not Bryan), J-Peazy, Bradshaw (not the famous one) or Bullet Bill Dudley.
Something's terribly amiss.
**Addendum to the tangent of the sidebar: Not many fans of the Black N' Gold remember that the longest INT ret. vs. the Steelers was that 100-yd.er by the Raiders Chris Carr (because it occurred during that game we've all tried to forget ... the L to the eventual 2-14 OakTown team two seasons ago), but some of us have discovered that a fantastic ice-breaker at parties (and a fun-fact which'll get chicks into bed lickety-split) is any time you reference the two SHORTEST TD-interception runbacks vs. the Steelers ... both times, Neil O'Donnell was the victim ... during games one month apart in '95 -- first, when the Bears' Barry Minter returned that O'Donnell INT 2 yds. for a TD in a game which the Steelers won, 37-34, at Soldier Field then, one month later in Oakland (in the Raiders' first season back in the East Bay after 13 seasons in L.A.), Aundray Bruce intercepted O'Donnell and returned it 1 yd. for a TD in a game which the Steelers won, 29-10 ... but, there's not much more detail to provide, given that O'Donnell -- with one of the lowest INT/att. ratios in NFL history -- threw two more bizarre INTs later that season ... in the same game ... to a nobody named Larry Brown, who is definitely not to be confused with THE REAL Larry Brown who was wearin' #87 as a TE catchin' a TD pass in the Steelers' first Super Bowl and then was the #79 RT Larry Brown in Super Bowls XIII and XIV ...
"Shortest INT-return-TDs" usually live in an off-the-wall neighborhood not found in most media guides -- yet, when they are excluded from a media guide as if they are a Bullet Bill Dudley pick-off, we're sad.
We're sadder still when we consider the meticulous work required to assemble a media guide and notice a Super Bowl X recap on pg. 321.
The photo on the page is of Mel Blount and Steve Furness converging on Tony Dorsett.
The problem with that, as we know, is that in Jan. '76, Dorsett had just completed his junior season at Pitt.
He hadn't even won the Heisman yet (punch line: Good thing it wasn't a photo of Greg Lloyd sacking Steve Pelluer, ha ha ... ).
Goddammit, kids ... this is the Steelers' media guide, not the CinShitnati BenGirls media guide.
These errors and omissions make it difficult to earn the trust of the end-user.
Anyway, with all the havoc that James Harrison and LaMarr Woodley create as OLBs in the 3-4 ... and with the steady play of ILBs Farrior and Foote, sometimes ya forget that Timmons is a passing-down LB who's slowly but surely gaining our trust as the '07 first-round selection.
And, Ben Watson?
Who gives a shit?
Aside from his tackle which only delayed the inevitable (a Gary Russell TD), he looked mighty weak when attempting to reel in that high-but-catchable pass which bounced off his hands and into the waiting arms of Troy Polamalu for the drive-killing INT.
THAT turnover DID matter since the score at the time was 23-10 ... and the potential for a 23-17 score with six or seven minutes to play could've made matters VERY interesting.
But, 5 turnovers in the second half of a game which was 10-10 at halftime ... fatal! (thanks to a pair of dandy sack-strips by the ferocious guy in the HARRISON 92 jersey).
It's kinda weird when we remind ourselves that Harrison wears the same number as the Steelers' all-time sacks leader (Jason Gildon) and Timmons wears Chad Brown's #94.
Yet, when it comes to classic numbers, a lot of us were having Paul Ernster withdrawal when we didn't see him wearing his #5 jersey as he stood in punt formation in the drizzle n' cold in Fucksboro today.
Alas, Paul Ernster is merely a memory now ... a 3-game fill-in who might've lasted longer in the Steel City if only he'd dialed into his inner COLQUITT 5 and not made a spectacle of himself in the swirly-snow during that Thurs.-niter vs. CinShitnati 10 days ago.
Five punts for a 28-yd. avg.
Whereas he seemingly had won our hearts when he double-handedly took down the Chargers with his professional handling of the long snap from Jared Retkofsky (placing the ball on the damp, semi-frozen lawn, turning the laces to face Retkofsky's arse and using two fingers on his left hand to hold the ball at its highest point as Jeff Reed's foot swung through), that act in itself is probably not justification for those of us who were considering it to purchase and then wear around town an ERNSTER 5 jersey.
Ernster or no, what we're wondering now is whether what we saw today was a preview of a future AFC playoff showdown. Granted, the Steelers get their shot at the formidable-looking Titans (11-1) three rrrrrweeks from now, but if the Black N' Gold goes 2-2 vs. Dallas, Baltimore, Tenn. and Cleveland, what will 11-5 mean to the postseason?
They've already lost to the Giants and Colts at Heinz ... and that's where last season ended w/ a first-round KO vs. Jax.
Does home field matter?
It didn't three yrs. ago.
Well, this weekend is in the books ... the Sooners beating the Cowboys and the Steelers tuning up for the Cowboys.
Damn right, there's overlap, even if the Cowboys retired #12 for Roger Stauback and Okie State has yet to do the same for the #12 worn by QB legends Rusty Hilger, Mike Gundy and Asoteletangafamosili Pogi.
And, let's not forget Okie State's importance in the Steelers cosmos -- for it is the university which gave us Jon Kolb (LT in four Super Bowl wins ... and THE all-time Steelers #55, sorry, J-Peazy) as well as Jason Gildon (career sack leader w/ 77).
[HEY ... we had to put Aso Pogi's name in there ... because we forgot to mention how the Sooner OL neutralized Tonga Tea yesterday ... ]
Sunday, November 16, 2008
Then again, those are the same knuckleheads who failed to embrace the beauty of this, the first meeting of Troy Polamalu and LaDanian Tomlinson on the playing field since the nationwide release of those Nike TV ads which feature the montage of the Steeler safety and the Charger tailback as they progress from hyperactive tykes to NFL superstardom.
Predictably, 99.4 percent of the gambling/Fantasy bedwetting riff-raff have no clue that Ennio Morricone's "L'ESTASI DELL'ORO" is the background music for those TV promos which culminate with a collision between the two -- in a sportsmanlike manner (of course).
'Cuz that's what Nike's about.
Fair play ...
Just doin' it ...
And payin' Ennio Morricone a hefty royalty check (goddammit) for borrowing something he composed for "The Good, The Bad & The Ugly."
It seems fitting that Nike would opt for a song which translates to "The Ecstasy of Gold" as the anthem for a 15-second ad, although some of us old-schoolers would've found it gratifying if Ennio Morricone -- who finally won an honorary Academy Award last year -- had told the ad wizards hired by Nike, "I'm not for sale, you motherless sons of bitches!"
Or, if Ennio had crossed up everybody by selling the rights to "Due Contro Cinque" instead of "L'Estasi Dell'Oro."
Hell, in this mixed-up world of music publishing rights, etc., Ennio Morricone quite likely hasn't owned the rights to "L'Estasi Dell'Oro" for 20 or 30 years.
It's probably the property of General Motors for all we know.
Still, that doesn't give Nike the right to play God with music which this world has always associated with the greatest Western ever made.
Once we allow Nike to go unchecked, before ya know it, we're seeing Tuco (Eli Wallach) running full speed through the Sand Hill Cemetery, searching desperately to find the grave with the name ARCH STANTON on it -- and, instead of seeing Tuco wearing a pair of dusty-and-tattered boots, we notice that he has a brand new pair of Air Jordans (or whichever Nikes the CGI wizards deemed appropriate for that scene as the music -- with trumpets blaring furiously -- builds to its crescendo, Tuco on an adrenaline high with the prospect of locating the $200,000 of Confederate gold).
We've previously addressed the concept of "crossover" when it comes to our favorite NFL or MLB teams playing on the same day, etc. -- although it's rare when our favorite players and our favorite movies intersect (unless you're a loser who's into Keanu Reeves and you believe that his sissy-girl, football-throwin' in either "Point Break" or "The Replacements" validates his movie existence as either ex-Ohio State quarterback Johnny Utah or ex-Ohio State quarterback Shane Falco ... or maybe you're somebody who's more into O.J. Simpson in either "Capricorn One" or "The Towering Inferno" before he was Norberg in "The Naked Gun" movies).
It makes ya laugh (or scratch yer head) how a Jewish guy (Eli Wallach) playin' a Mexican bandit (Tuco) is cast with hundreds of Italians in a spaghetti western filmed in Spain.
Eli Wallach was a pro's pro, though ... and if Nike had any real clout, Eli Wallach would've won the Oscar as Best Actor (not merely in a "supporting" role, either ... seriously, he outshined Clint in that movie, like it or not) in '68.
OH, SHIT ... the game!
Look ... all we're saying is that there's no reason to act all nutso over the fact that Polamalu's TD on the game's final play was disallowed.
Some insane-yet-creative reffing allowed to stand the first-ever 11-10 final in the history (from what CBS told us) of the league's previous 12,837 games.
Nobody said if those 12,837 included today's contests -- and the only time we remember any NFL team landing on "11" as a winner or a loser was in the NFC Championship Game almost 10 years ago when the Rams got the late TD to turn a 6-5 deficit into an 11-6 victory.
Of course, that's the painful punchline which everybody will use for the next several days ... that this was Pirates-Padres in a baseball score, blah blah blah blah blah blah blah, yadda yadda, yakkety yak ...
WE GET IT ALREADY!
11-10 looks/sounds/feels like a baseball score ...
(Question: Since 92.5 percent of all NFL games are 10-7 at halftime -- when they aren't 13-3 or 7-6 -- shouldn't it be mandated somewhere that all of THOSE scores receive baseball-score certification? "Philadelphia leads Chicago, 7-3? What, did Ryan Howard hit a home run off of Carlos Zambrano? Ha ha ha ha ha ha ..." Oh, the hilarity!)
Well, for those of us who didn't drop $500 on Pittsburgh-minus-5, we're just thrilled that after last week's aggravation against Indy that this one was decided by a perfect pass from long snapper Jared Retkofsky (#61) to holder Paul Ernster (#5) who cleanly set the ball on its tip and turned the laces away from Jeff Reed for the winning kick.
When a play ends in a tidy and happy fashion as that one did, it's obvious why Dirk McGirder (who some people still unwisely call "Steely McBeam") has broken out his wide smile.
It's because Jared Retkofsky and Paul Ernster are slowly-but-surely earning the trust of Dirk McGirder.
As per those gambling junkies and Fantasy addicts, the only ones who won't be all pissy and PMS-ey for the rest of tonight all throughout tomorrow are those who had the "road dog" Chargers-plus-5 or those who collected points for Big Ben's 300-plus yards or for Fast Willie's 100-plus yards.
And then there's the rest of us who appreciated the game for the array of offerings -- from the amazing (Polamalu's diving-on-the-snowy-turf, one-handed, fingertip-scoop INT in the first quarter) to the agonizing (Mewelde Moore gettin' thoroughly ass-whooped when the left side of the Steelers' OL got blown up "at the point of attack" on 4th-and-goal at the 1 for the second week in a row).
That winning drive was cool, though ... and it sent the Chargers to 0-13 all-time during the regular-season in Pittsburgh (as Western Time Zone teams dipped to 0-11 this season in games played in the Eastern Time Zone) -- and it was a nice bounceback following last week's result, when the Colts snapped their 40-year losing streak in Pittsburgh.
The game wasn't all that well-played (who the flock was Rivers throwing to on that pass that James Harrison INT'ed at the S.D. 10 late in the first half???) -- and those sound bytes of Bill Hillgrove indicate that the contest wasn't very well-broadcast, either (on the Harrison pickoff: "Intercepted! Running with the football a Steeler defender!" -- you cannot be serious, William. It's #92 and it's not Jason Gildon, so do the frickin' math, Ace ... and do it before Tunch has an orgasm into the microphone, okay? ... ).
Nothwitstanding some of the unsightliness leading up to it, there were some interesting moments and high drama at the end.
Those are real plusses.
Nevertheless, the outcry tomorrow will be intense ... and widespread ... as America tries to reconcile the injustice of a nonsensical final play.
It'll be a full-blown, he-said/she-said ...
Was it a forward lateral from Tomlinson to Chambers?
Does it really matter?
By the very capricious nature of the sport itself and with the arbitrary nature of the zebras which govern it, we should be thankful that every game doesn't end with a 7-car pileup.
But, some of us ain't sweatin' it.
'Cuz this one's a "W" -- and now it's time to prepare for CinSHITnati in that Thurs. niter, which'll be the Steeelers' third home game in 11 days.
There's bigger fish to fry than worrying about periphery issues such as the NFL refs.
After all, when asked our opinion on the matter of NFL officials, some of us answer a question with a question, such as: "The first woodwind sound we hear on "L'Estasi Dell'Oro" ... is that a clarinet or an oboe -- or is it the contra bassoon?"
Wednesday, November 05, 2008
In his final interview before yesterday's so-called "historic" Election Tuesday, President-Elect Oprah flashed that championship AquaFresh smile during halftime of MNF and told Berman (of the Disneyland Football Channel) that the time has come for a college football playoff system for the big-boy teams above the minor-league teams such as Appalachian State and Slippery Rock.
When America heard those words, one half of the nation said, "Fo shizzle, ma nizzle" -- and the other half responded with, "In God, we be trustin'."
Actually, America's response might've been the expression of surprise that Berman didn't call him "Barack The Casbah" Obama -- because, Lord knows, nobody stirs the pot of outdated concepts/events/people (even though we all appreciate that final album, "Combat Rock," circa 1982, from the Clash -- "the only band that matters") more than the non-athletic Berman, who our Muslim adversaries abhor not just because he might be pushing a pro-Zionist agenda, but more because he's a non-athlete who might, without warning, break into a highlight of himself holing out from 17 feet or on stage with Huey Lewis.
Look ... nobody's sayin' that 9/11 was Berman's fault.
But, he ain't helpin', y'know?
Before we get caught up in semantics, let's remember that President-Elect Oprah and his AquaFresh smile didn't exactly "endorse" a college-football-playoff platform.
It was more like: "Gee, playoffs would be swell."
He sounded about as non-committal (in politicalese, that's called "on the fence") as he seems to be about quitting smoking ("giving up cigarettes would be swell. Put that on my to-do list ...") -- or as about as vexed as much of White America is that the leftist-guerrilla media downplays the white mama aspect.
(The Black America which isn't pro-Obama might be categorizing him as an Oreo ... in probably the same manner in which most of Black America never embraced a Republican ex-QB named J.C. Watts because a black "Republican" means that he's probably a white dude dressed up as a black guy ... or he's an Uncle Tom or whatever buzzwords they're usin' nowadays to denounce a politician who won't allow a 15-year-old to abort her fetus on the sidewalk in broad daylight while she's freebasing this week's welfare check ... )
One of the most-classic President Oprah tributes occurred during a spin around the TV dial when we noticed that chunky black-chick/co-host on "The View" (the one who's not Whoopi ... or Star Jones ... the other one ... whose name we don't know) recapped the outcome by sobbing to America that she was now able to tell her son, "There are no limitations ... no lim(sob)uhhh(sob)tay-shins ..."
Somebody needs to tell Mama and little Je'Quan that the only way that the people who run this country (the gun lobby, the tobacco lobby) are gonna notice his limitless potential is if he runs a 4.23 40 and receives the recommendation of Mel Kiper's Bouffant that he can "make plays in space."
No limmm-uhhh-tayyy-shins ... well, that is, unless your name is Ellen Degeneres and you wake up to find that Election Day wasn't so kind to you ... and Prop. 8 sez that your homosexual marriage is void.
America has spoken, Ellen -- and all throughout the land, we're celebrating with a "breakfast of champions" consisting of a piping-hot plate of Uncle Ben's Converted Rice coated with generous, squirt-bottle applications of Aunt Jemimah syrup.
Except for Ellen and Portia -- who are eating cold, overcooked Minute Rice drenched in Log Cabin.
As it so happens, America, apparently, isn't ready for gay marriage any more than it's ready for a playoff system for Div. I-A teams, despite the wishful thinking, casual suggestions and handfuls of pinwheels and lollipops from our President-Elect with a mama who's as white as his Pepsodent smile.
What the future holds, it would seem, is some vital legislation.
Or an arm-wrestling match between Elijah Mohamed and Jesus Christ (the Jesus w/ the Afro who looks like Dr. J., not the bearded, white-boy, hippie Jesus).
Event to be staged at a neutral site ...
Not in Nazareth or in Mecca ...
Maybe at the RCA Dome ...
It is fascinating to note that Black Prez w/ His White Mom won the election during a football season in which we lost two more black head football coaches in the college ranks (Tyrone Willingham and Ron Prince) and we might be losing three black NFL coaches by the end of this season (on the chopping block: Marvin, Herman, Romeo).
Football, as we've learned, is a great equalizer -- and it's impressive to see the sport re-evolve with the return of the white-boy tailback (i.e. Stanford's Toby Gerhart and Kansas' Jake Sharp to name two collegians ... plus NFL rookies Jacob Hester from LSU and Peyton Hillis from Arkansas).
That's for you, Ed Podolak ...This is real progress for America -- black prez, white tailback. For years, white Americans were viewed only as Madison Hedgecock-type fullbacks who needed to clear a path for the flashier black players who would be sleeping with the white groupies after the game.
Now, the power may be shifting.
Because of President-Elect Oprah.
If only he could do something about bringing home Caylee ...
It's not a major request, given how we've outlawed black football coaches, outlawed lipstick lesbians who want more outta life than to star in quality chick-on-chick porn and brought honor back to Whitey who wants to tote the rock.
While we're addressing half-Kenyans who ascend to the highest office in the land, maybe it's time to deliver some reparations to the tune of several billion $$$ to several dozen Native American nations who might've suffered certain injustices at the hands of Whitey and the bruthuhs who built their football stadiums on the land which was stolen from the natives.
It's about President-Elect Oprah using the white side of his brain rather than the Kenyan color of his skin to get things done.
After all, one of the top college QBs in the nation -- Oklahoma's Sam Bradford -- is part Cherokee.
Is it not time to reserve the right to reverse the wrongs perpetrated against Native American QBs, such as Sonny Sixkiller?
We're all in the same tribe -- so sayeth those of us who've purchased numerous cartons of smokes from the Tuscarora Indians in western N.Y.
The natives make 'em damn fine cigarette, but unless there's something stronger inside than tobacco, it's foolish to vote in elections where one of the candidates has a smile a mile wide, but less tangible political pull and charisma than our fave African leader of all-time -- SHAKA ZULU.
Another thing: How insane is it to cast a ballot for a candidate whose cabinet we don't know and cannot predict?
If President Oprah names Mussolini's grandson as his Secretary of State, that would be harmful. Of greater harm would be if President Oprah allows ex-First Lady Clinton and her hillbilly husband, Bubba, anywhere near the Oval Office.
For some of us, it ain't about whether the new Prez is a black dude -- after all, MLK taught us that we're not 'sposed to judge based on the color of one's skin, but, rather, based on the content of his character.
If he can't lead like LeBron and legislate like Shaka Zulu, then there's nuthin' all that "historic" about this election.
Isn't that right City of Detroit? How's yer black mayor, Kwame Kilpatrick, workin' out?
Seems like he might be a man of the people, but not really for the people. And with a name like "Kilpatrick," nobody is really sure if he embraces his Irish heritage the way that, say, Shaquille O'Neal does.
Anyway, the next four years are gonna be swell, America ... the left-wing media's gonna forget to remind that President Oprah's mama is white -- and President Oprah's gonna hope nobody remembers his "Gee, college football playoffs would be swell" remark.
Let the "lookin'-the-other-way" begin now.
That's how we get the economy turned around and lessen our involvement in unwinnable Middle East-conflicts.
Empty rhetoric, however, makes for a bloody and pointless Papajohns.com Bowl ...
Friday, October 31, 2008
For example, when Chase Utley stepped to the microphone today and declared that his team is Number One, it was important that the children within earshot wrote it down w/o any misspellings.
It's spelled just like it sounds, kids.
"WORLD PHUCKING CHAMPIONS!"
When we take a minute and say it slowly and more-distinctintly, it's reminiscent of that time when Peter Gibbons and his pal Lawrence were cleaning up the debris following the fire at the site where the INITECH building once stood.
Lawrence gave us a quick, matter-of-fact, crunch-each-syllable-into-one "fuckinay" -- while Peter, on the other hand, offered a philosophical pose and sounded almost magnanimous as he spoke clearly and with distinction.
"Fuck ... In ... Ayyy."
Chutley's was somewhere in-between ...
And, that's an important lesson for America ... addressing who's Number One in an appropriate, succinct manner which galvinizes young and old (and black and white) alike.
After all, the last time the Big Phillie Parade took place in Philly, Mike Schmidt took the microphone and altered a lyric from that Johnny Paycheck song, "Take This Job And Shove It."
Said Schmidt to the throng of Phanatics, "Take this championship ... AND SAVOR IT!"
It wasn't "take this championship AND CRAM IT UP YOUR PHUCKING ASSES, Philly bandwagon motherphucks!"
Schmidty's message might've sounded too corny and Squaresville, so it was up to Chutley to provide a remark which, in some circles, would be considered "alienating."
We call those who are offended "dickheads."
(How interesting is it that a hip-hop version of "Take This Job And Shove It" is the song which accompanies the closing credits to the movie which chronicles Peter Gibbons' everyday battle against TPS-report cover pages and pieces of flair?)
Early indications are that Chutley's signature remark was less-offensive and less-alarming than it was confusing.
For example, nobody knows yet if the banner which'll be on a flagpole and flyin' high in the south Philly breeze at The Cit next season while the hometown team is losin' 2 of 3 to the NY Mess will read 2008 WORLD PHUCKING CHAMPIONS with a "ph" or an "f" -- or, if the "complete" term ("motherphucking") fits completely on a flag.
At least the organization has time to figure that out (that is, if Ruben Amaro and his biology degree from Stanford is, in fact, promoted to GM, thus clearing the way for Charley-Charlie Kerfeld to choose not only the correct spelling of his first name, but also to find somebody to replace him as "assistant to the assistant GM").
Of more immediate concern to the organization should be that Feb. visit to the White House when new President Oprah will receive his official Phillies shirt (white w/ red pinstripes ... a script, red "Phillies" across the front w/ two blue stars dotting the "i's") and, on the back of said shirt, the name OPRAH with a large 08.
(Thank phucking god it's an "08" and not an "8" ... because that number belongs to Hall of Famer Bob Boone, Juan Samuel, Jim Eisenreich and The Fuckin' Flyin' Hawaiian ... in that order ... sorry, Shane ... it's a tough lineup to crack ... )
That White House visit oughta be a dilly -- especially when the Vice President steps forward to shake hands and some P.R. guy says, "Joe Biden, meet Joe Blanton."
Phuckin' surreal ...
Before we arrive at Joe Blanton meetin' Joe Biden, it stands to reason that, in the immediate days ahead, we might hear some backlash about Chutley droppin' the F-bomb at the rally, particularly 'cuz it's (theoretically) not the proper message for our children, not to mention the fact that it might be construed as disrespectful to the recent Fallen Phillies who might be watching from Heaven (i.e. Tugger, Vook, the Pope and Whitey -- a.k.a. McGraw, Vukovich, Owens and Ashburn).
Then again, maybe 82-year-old Robin Roberts heard Chutley's signature statement, shrugged and remarked, "Fuckin'-A ... I'm 82-year-old Whiz Kid Robin Roberts ... and I approve this message."
What Robin Roberts probably doesn't condone, however, is the mob of jerkoffs who tip over cars during the overexuberance of victory.
Y'see, the problem which many of us have with such an act of wanton violence is that if these cars are to be tipped over, they must be set ablaze.
An upside-down car which isn't engulfed in flames ... what's the point?
The act is incomplete.
Mob mentality, however, is a powerful narcotic.
To pre-empt such hooliganism, it'd be fun to single out one of those tough-guy car vandals and, just as he is about to perform the rite of passage of joining the vandalism phalanx, whisper in his ear, "Everything you're about to do to this car, I'm gonna do to your girlfriend. Or daughter. That's right ... I'm gonna smash her windshield, flip her on her hood and then slide her along the asphalt until she bursts into flames. You into that?"
That's the City of Brotherly Shove for ya -- which is why it's best to steer clear of that city when everybody from Valley Forge to King of Prussia is converging along the parade route to see their heroes in their street clothes making their phucking declarations of phucking dominance.
The problem with allowing plainclothes Phillies to mingle w/ the masses is that it ends up like that time when Maximus began laughing at Proximo and, through his laughter, said, "You knew Marcus Aurelius?"
Proximo (angrily): "I did not say I knew him! I said he touched me on the shoulder once!"
That helps to explain why certain Phans are likely to walk up to J.C. Romero and say, "Carlos Ruiz, sign my t-shirt, puhh-leeeze!"
America needs its sports heroes to remain in their jerseys/uniforms so that we don't have to think of them as everyday people in everyday situations.
Chutley's a prime example.
We need him wearing his #26 and providing pop and crucial ribbies and valuable glovework and some speed on the basepaths.
His versatility as a ballplayer is his gift to us -- not his wide-open yapper spewin' PH-bombs.
CHUTLEY is best when he's a second baseman and not an orator in street clothes because, seriously ... whaddya gonna get from a guy who took a few classes at FUCLA just to stay eligible for baseball?
Chutley lives in the land of "see ball, hit ball ... see grounder, field grounder ... " -- so, we'll take it from there, Chuts.
When we need somebody to say something stupid or nonsensical, well ... that's Vice President Biden's job.
Jeez ... what ever happened to the good, ol' days of "Ours is not the victory of might, but the vindication of right ... " ???
WAIT A SEC ... Victorino's playin' center; he was in right last year, ha ha ...
We, the members of the Phanaticship, shouldn't get tooooo carried away with Chutley being so adamant of the phuckingness of this so-called world championship.
Officially, the Japanese baseballers were crowned WORLD champions at the World Baseball Classic in SoCal in '06 -- so, until the United States team does something to alter that status at WBC 2 next March, it might be a good idea if Chutley gets his facts straight.
U.S. Pro Phucking Baseball Sweepstakes Winners!
Hey ... just because Chutley isn't very accurate or articulate, it shouldn't diminish the impressive depth that Phils' lineup exhibited during the '08 postseason.
Workin' from the top of the order, the Fightin's postseason damage during the 14 games was respectable:
ROLLINS: (.240) Wasn't much of a sparkplug until his leadoff HR jump-started the NLCS-clincher at Milwaukee and his leadoff HR ignited the NLCS-clincher in L.A. ...
WERTH: (.310) Had more strikeouts (17) than any Phillie, but he also had the most extra-basehits (7 doubles, 1 triple, 2 homers) and the most stolen bases (4). His 6 BBs in the World Series led the team ...
UTLEY: (.220) Nuthin' to brag about in the postseason, yet, again, his big blast off of Lowe in Game 1 of the NLCS was huge and his first-inning, 2-run shot in St. Pete was vital -- and, how different would matters have been w/o his diving, unassisted DP in Game 4 in L.A. or his throw home to nail Bartlett (or if Mike Cameron, an alleged Gold Glover, had fought through the wind n' the rain to make that catch of what was ruled a double -- a gift -- in the very first game of this postseason)?
HOWARD: (.230) Was a real non-factor 'til he blew the lid off of Game 4 of the World Series w/ that 3-run shot (it was redemption for his nifty barehanded grab of Moyer's flip from the night before which was negated by umpire Tom Hallion abandoning his position where he had a clear view and then running to the concession stand or the souvenir stand or the mezzanine level or the designated smoking area located within a 648-foot homer to LCF to get a better view of the play).
BURRELL: (.230) In his final days as a Phillie (we presume), extended his MLB-record streak to 630 consecutive games w/o a SB att. -- and somehow escaped Eternal Phillie Boobird Hell with four, long, slow, overexaggerated, big-finish, sweeping swings of the bat -- the two homers during the clincher in Brew Town; the solo blast which followed Utley's 2-run shot in Game 1 vs. L.A.; and his almost-homer/double off of the crazy-angled wall in CF two nights ago.
VICTORINO: (.270) What a catalyst (13 ribbies in 14 games) -- and even if most of us have forgotten the 2-run single he ripped during Monday night's slop-a-thon, we're never (ever) going to forget his grand salami over the flower bed in LF vs. Sabathia (batting right-handed) or that laser-beam, 2-run HR which he buggy-whipped into the Phillie bullpen at Dodjerk Stadium (batting left-handed). Oh ... and, defensively, his glove was where rallies went to die.
FELIZ & RUIZ: (.250 and .260) '08 was '80 revisited w/ these two as it was reminiscent of (a productive) Trillo, Boone and Bowa creating havoc at the bottom of the order 28 years earlier. That threesome was far more-consistent during the regular season than Feliz & Ruiz (.249 and .219) were this year, although nobody should discount their defensive acumen for a nano-second. Feliz had some key hits here and there ... and Carlos The Catcher was "a force" wearin' #51 in the No. 9 spot (his double vs. Sabathia was THE mistake which C.C. made before Victorino's homer, not Myers' AB ... and let's not forget how it was Carlos' single which preceded Stairs' bomb in L.A., not to mention his RBI groundout which was the GWRBI in Game 1 in St. Pete before he singlehandedly won Game 3 w/ his HR and the 47-foot tapper at 1:47 in the morning ...
While the Phillies didn't have two or three guys hittin' .435, they also didn't have two or three guys w/ .167 avgs. in the postseason (the way that the N.Y. Mess would've). And, even though Rollins and Utley each have 30-plus game hitting streaks to their credit, nobody in the Phils' lineup possesses the everyday consistency to win a batting title.
However, as demonstrated during this postseason, when pitchers make mistakes (in terms of location), Phuckin' Phillie batsmen have a knack for hittin' those pitches on the screws.
Again ... it's not "if somebody makes a mistake" ...
It's "when" ...
That's what Matt Stairs did in L.A. and Geoff Jenkins did to ignite "The Resumption." They got each got a ball to hit and that's what they did.
Guys such as Stairs and Jenkins might've been easy to I.D. today, what, with their blonde goat-tees.
But, it is impressive to consider that if somebody such as Greg Dobbs isn't wearing either his #19, pinstriped shirt or a name-tag sticker which reads, "HELLO: My Name Is Greg Dobbs," he could blend in with the crowd and maybe say to the gal standing next to him, "Hey, get me Eric Bruntlett's autograph. Show him your ta-ta's if ya have to."
That's our Dobbsie -- the guy who looks like a regular Joe ... unless he's wearing his pinstriped attire w/ #19 on the back, wearing a facial expression of "I'm-all-business" and swinging a weighted bat in the on-deck circle as he's waiting to be announced as the scheduled pinch-hitter for Clay Condrey.
Every U.S. Pro Baseball Gold Medal Squad needs somebody like a Dobbsie ... a real Plain Jane ... until it's time to come off the bench and shoot a line drive into RF.
Or over the fence.
Technically, he puts the PH in "Phuckin' Phillie" (as exemplified by his .355 avg. as a PH this season).
Although Dobbs didn't have any Unser-esque moments in the postseason (seems as if those were reserved for Bruntlett and his lumberjack beard), he was a quiet 7 for 14.
Some of us definitely appreciate the manner in which the ex-Oklahoma Sooner got the start at 3B in Game 2 vs. L.A. and followed those backwards-K's by Burrell and Werth with a broken-bat chunker into CF vs. Barbara Billingsley.
That was the first of 5 consecutive hits for a 4-1 lead ... before Howard was caught looking.
The Game 2 victory was the second of two starts in which Brick Myers received ample run-support.
Crazy shit ... for which the Phillies were phamous this season.
For those of us who couldn't make it out there today for the phucking celebration, we're a little fuzzy about the scope of the merriment.
Was Adam Eaton allowed to ride on one of the victory floats? If he wasn't, was he out in the crowd, signing autographs which read, "Best Wishes, Chris Coste"?
Where was Kyle Kendrick?
Before we forget: On consecutive games during the first week of Aug., Kendrick blanked the Marlins to improve to 10-5 the day before Cole Hamels lost to the Marlins to fall to 9-8.
Don't gimme that, "Kyle who?"
It was nice of Moyer to make mention of Kendrick during the postgame excitement two nights ago.
Days like this are perfect for walking up to Brick Myers in his street clothes and asking, "Clay Condrey, will you sign this ball for my niece?" -- leading him to reply, "I'm not Clay Condrey" -- to which you'd say, "That's swell, 'cuz I don't have a niece, whoever the fuck you think you are" (knowing full well that it was Brick Myers w/ his moustache-less goat-tee).
Ri-ri-ri-right ... we're 'sposed to lay off Brick -- until his talent and mental makeup go south next season.
To his credit, though, Myers broke the ESPN Theorem of how Reformed Sex Addict Steve Phillips sez you're 'sposed to perform.
Thank god they don't play these games on paper any more.
If they did, the Cubs and Red Sox would've won every game, 6-0, until meeting in the World Series wherein all seven games would've been decided by a 4-3 score.
Yet, while the Cubs were lining up their playoff pitching staff (watch out, world! it's Dempster! Zambrano! Harden! and here comes Kerry Wood out of the 'pen! ... oh, "never mind" ... ), something went horribly wrong.
Such as not enough motherphuckers get the phucking job done in a performance-based paradigm.
There's yer phucking U.S. pro baseball sweepstakes triumph.
OF COURSE, we're already starting to hear the increasing negativity as the early TV-ratings numbers trickle in.
This World Series will probably go down as the least-watched of all-time.
Which makes perfect sense, since it wasn't Manny vs. Boston ...
Or Manny vs. the Yankees ...
Or Manny vs. Cleveland ...
Or Cubs vs. Chisox ...
Or the Los Angeles Dodjerks of Culver City vs. the California Angels of The Big A ...
Or because it wasn't Francona vs. Torre ...
Or because it wasn't Papelbon vs. Brazoban ...
Or Kuroda vs. Dice-K ...
Or because it wasn't Fuckingdummy playing RF for the Cubbies and battin' a robust .266 and makin' the All-Star team ...
Or because it wasn't Scioscia vs. Piniella ...
Or because the high-flyin' Rockies (shhhhhh ... they weren't a fluke!) couldn't be here this year ...
Or because the most-popular player of all-time, Kirby Puckett, missed the postseason because, um, he's dead ...
Or because Ozzie Guillen wasn't available to out-F-bomb Utley ...
It's easy to see why Philly-TB would be a ratings dog, given that each team has some of the best young talent in the game w/ stars ranging from Howard to Longoria to Rollins to Upton to Hamels to, jeez ... there's too many to mention.
DAMMIT, America ... why can't we get Giambi into the World Series every year???!!!
Why do we HAVE to put up with watching Lights Out Lidge when we NEED to be talking about Mariano Rivera?
Why do we have to watch Rollins doin' a little of everything when we NEED to be talking about Jeter's leadership??? (Note: Jeter can go 0 for 4, but his leadership oftentimes wills the Yankees to victory ... Rollins goes hitless in one AB and his own fans wonder why he didn't hit a 5-run homer while stealing second and third base in that one AB ... ).
Just thinking about how the Disneyland Baseball Channel obsesses w/ the Pinstripers/Bosox makes ya wanna burn either your "Yuck The Fankees" t-shirt -- or to have Chutley tell America to phuck the phucking Yankees (and the phucking Red Sox).
And, seriously ... who gives a phlying phuck if this was viewed as a "boring" World Series? It's always a boring, unwatchable World Series when your team isn't there -- or when Disneyland Baseball doesn't tell ya who to root for (or who to bet on).
Would a topless Jeannie Zelasko have spiced up matters?
If people want Dullsville, they need to check out the 1943 World Series or the 1999 World Series or the 1963 World Series or the 2004 World Series or the 2006 World Series or the 1984 World Series or the 2007 World Series or -- the worst of 'em all -- the 1994 World Series.
Not even close ... in fact, that S.I. w/ Ruiz and Baldelli on the cover called it "a connoisseur's classic."
That's probably a stretch -- but, here's the catch: America needs to get used to it.
'Cuz these are the teams which'll be playing for all the marbles next year ...
Wednesday, October 29, 2008
It's amusing now because Janet let only one guy call her "Janetor" -- the same guy who was the only one who called Virginia "Ginny."
Oh, the conflict ... considering how it was Ginny who was there, not Janetor, when the only thing we had to pour over the head of the campus' undisputed No. 1 Phillie phan in the shower room was one bottle of Henry Weinhard's.
Mediocre beer for drinkin' ... sub-standard for dousin'.
But, that's how it worked in '80 ... when those dorm gals asked, "Is that a bottle of Brut by Faberge or a bottle of Wienhard's in your cords -- or are ya just glad that the Phillies won the World Series?"
Those moments never leave ya.
Just as that mental snapshot will remain permanent of Bake McBride using that unorthodox, off-balance swing with his 28-ounce bat to buggywhip that 3-run homer off of Dennis Leonard in Game 1 28 years ago, we'll never forget the swings we saw tonight, be it Geoff Jenkins' big cut and follow-through to jump-start "The Resumption" ... or The Wheel-Burrell taggin' one off the kooky angle of the CF wall ... or Pedro Feliz crisply sending that four-hopper up the middle and past the drawn-in infield for the game-untying, RBI single.
Feliz's semi-sharply-struck grounder up the middle which Bartlett couldn't reach was a lot like Werth's dunker to shallow CF which IwoJima couldn't latch onto, allowing Jenkins to score the first go-ahead run.
If the infield wasn't drawn in, well ...
So phrickin' what ...
Some of us are going to remember Feliz standing on first base as his magnificently-groomed beard and his necklace with those titanium magnets glistened in the floodlights of The Cit.
We can't think of anyone who has EVER in the history of the World Series singled home the eventual Series-winning run while wearing such a tidy-and-postgame-celebration-ready beard to accent his necklace of magnets.
Pedro Feliz w/ the Junior Ortiz Beardstyle ... it makes a Phillie Phan harken back to all of the third basemen who DIDN'T single thru the drawn-in infield in a Game 5.
That's you, Rick Schu ...
And, you, too, David Bell ...
(Boobirds are dialing 4-1-1 right now to get Scott Rolen's phone # ... so that they may boo him and blame him for 27 seasons which ended w/o a world championship)
The '08 Fightin's ... Weirdo Series Champions.
Probably more amusing than weird, notwithstanding The 50 Hours of Game 5.
The Jenkins-Burrell-Feliz trifecta definitely fit nicely into the paradigm -- such as when Carlos Ruiz became the first catcher who wears #51 in W.S. history to end a Game 3 with a 47-foot dribbler at 1:47 on Sunday morning after homering earlier in the game when it was Saturday night.
(John Facenda, please remind us again: "Great teams aren't great all the time. They're just great when they have to be.")
Phillie Phan has to admit that immortality was the last thing on his/her mind when Ben Zobrist followed Dioner Navarro's shattered-bat single with that screamin' liner to RF.
If this was 1977, Luzinski in LF would have retreated tenuously on Zobrist's deep fly ball -- or if this was 1978, Garry Maddox in CF would've been frozen in his tracks as Zobrist's liner emerged from the shadows to the sunlight.
Phortunately, Zobrist didn't hit the ball thru the time warp to Luzinski or Maddox.
Hence, right field was the right place for Zobrist's sinking liner to die in Werth's glove (instead of sinking faster than expected and skipping under the glove for an RBI triple which would've tied the game before the Rays tacked on five more runs for a 9-4 lead and lotsa mometum heading into Game 6 at The Trop ... ).
Werth caught the ball that Luzinski couldn't and Maddox didn't (although both were completely vindicated in 1980).
Such is the forgiving nature of these triumphs which are Biblical in scope.
80 backwards is 08 ...
80 upside-down is 08 ...
80 ... the year that Genuine Risk became the first FILLY in 65 years to win the Kentucky Derby ...
08 ... the year in which Genuine Risk passed on to that horsetrack in the sky (in August) ...
The puzzle pieces finally fit ... so, there's no longer a need to reflect upon the hunt for Janetor or Ginny after Tugger thrusts his arms skyward and leaps off the mound after Willie Wilson's mighty swing and a miss through a fastball.
No need to phone up the ex-mom that we haven't spoken to in 27 years and rattle her Alzheimer's cage with commentary that the Dodjerks can kiss off (as some of us did 28 yrs. ago) ...
This time, the mood was one of subdued appreciation after Hinske waved weakly at Strike 3 and Ruiz hustled moundward after Lidge had dropped to his knees before the catcher bent the pitcher backwards and broke him in half w/ his victory hug.
It was similar to how we felt when Andy jumped off his beached boat and embraced Red on the sands of Zihautenejo (the reason for which was not 28 years w/o a world championship, but rather the reunion as free men after spending 19 years together in prison) (what? only Simmons is allowed to reference that movie? get serious ...).
Red had warned Andy that hope is a dangerous thing ("it's got no place on the inside"), yet, through it all, those two convicts reconciled that difference of opinion (such as when Red found Andy's note inside the box buried next to the wall under the big oak tree in that wheat field in Buxton ... "hope is a good thing ... maybe the best thing of all ... ").
Luckily, to offset the syrupyness of this triumph, we can always rewind to "Searching For Bobby Fischer" and parallel the moment when Vinnie was watching Josh playin' for all the marbles on TV vs. the mighty Jonathan Poe and he yelled, "There it is!" ... kinda like what we were doing when Jenkins found the gap as the first batter of "The Resumption."
(Note: Vinnie's not a "potser" ... and Bobby Fischer died in '08 shortly before pitchers and catchers reported to spring training ... )
We can't help but think how this outcome would've been sweeter if only Tugger, Vook, the Pope and Whitey had all lived to see this momentous occasion.
On the other hand, was it the image of Jenkins' majestic swing and his reaction upon pulling up at second base which sticks most in our minds or was it what happened in-between ... when Rocco Baldelli was looking awkward (sliding into the base of the wall) and dorky (with the hunter's earflaps down on his un-baseball-ish-looking Rays cap)?
Some gappers, some bleeders, some dunkers ... it all added up nicely for the Fightin's, who didn't have silly earflaps on their caps because it might've looked totally uncool on TV as celebration time grew near.
Despite a miracle season, the Rays's final push at immortality died in Philly's Arctic Zone -- hence, there will be no Game 6 inside their climate-controlled, amusement-park stadium with the bandwagon fans and the jumbo fish tank in CF.
There was some hope for them when Baldelli somehow managed to muscle up on a fairly-decent pitch by Madson for that HR which tied the game ... hope which was dashed only moments later when Utley performed his heads-up pump-fake to first and nailed Bartlett at the plate.
Hope which grew dimmer when B.J. Upton -- the terror of the '08 postseason -- tapped into that routine 6-4-3 DP to bail out Romero in the 8th.
And, finally, hope which was officially snuffed out when Werth corraled that line drive (instead of allowing it to skip past him for that aforementioned, soul-crushing RBI triple).
Speaking of triples, it was amusing to hear McCarver suggesting that Burrell probably should've legged out his hit for a triple after it caromed off the jagged edge of the CF wall.
Since we, the home audience, are well aware that Timmy talks baseball yet doesn't really watch much baseball, we realize that he may not know that the ground-rule triple (in an MLB paradigm) has not been invented yet.
And, unless Burrell was ridin' one of those big-wheeled, stand-up Segway personal transporters, there was no way in hell that the former Bellarmine College Prep quarterback and Miami Hurrcane third baseman (and future DH for either the Jays, A's or Rays) was gonna end up at third base.
That is, not unless all three outfielders collapsed and lost consciousness -- and, even then, if the left fielder came out of his coma one week later, there'd still be time for him to chase down the ball in the RCF gap and hold the super-slowpoke Burrell to a double (possibly a long single with a strong throw to second base).
Typical Burrell, though, isn't it?
The Vanilla Ronnie Gant ... right down to the uniform # (5) and the lower-than-we-had-hoped RBI and avg. numbers ...
In his Phillie Pharewell, the guy who batted .191 during the final month of the season ... the guy whose streak stands at 613 consecutive reg.-season games w/o a SB att. (630 in a row, including playoffs) ... the guy who was 0 x 8 during the first three games of the NLDS before bustin' loose w/ 2 HRs in Miller Park ... the guy who was ready to tie a record for ignomany with his 0 x 13 in this World Series ... well, that jackass AGAIN escaped the permanent wrath of the boobirds by using that big, slow, sweeping, dramatic swing to loft that drive off of the quirky facing of the outfield fence.
(Which is why it's worth phoning up Rolen and booing him before closing with an angry outburst of, "Why couldn't that be YOU?")
Once we push aside the acrimony and derision, however, the only remaining emotion is the feeling which best describes a big ol' bellylaugh and an emphatic, "no-frickin'-way" shake of the head.
"It hasn't sunk in yet" is likely to ring true for a few more weeks, considering how this team entered the playoffs with starting pitchers No. 2, No. 3 and No. 4 represented by Myers, Moyer and Blanton.
The 45-year-old sandwiched between the Brick who was 3-9 / 5.84 at the end of June and the Joe Blow who was 5-12 / 4.96 when he was acquired in mid-July ...
"World Series, here we come!"
Again, not to get too Biblical, but when Moyer The Warrior was attending the previous world championship celebration to honor his Fightin's (as some of us were making Janetor our unclothed Phillie sacrifice while wishin' it was Ginny), the planets had aligned and cosmic forces had coincided so that Moyer was at the parade two months after Myers was born and two months before Blanton was born.
Phreaky, phrickin' Fightin's ... that's what they are.
Now, it's merely a matter of observing the levels of jubilance-blended-with-hostility-aided-by-booze during the riots which'll rage from Conshoshocken to Croydon ... from Broad Axe to Leopard ... from Wissonoming to Neshaminy ... from Collingswood to Cinnaminson ...
Hard to believe there'd be this reaction to a team which had a 7-11 record vs. the New York Mess, an 8-10 record vs. the Florida Martians and a 4-11 record during interleague play.
Crazy shit ...